A federal appeals court ruled last week that inmates at Guantanamo have no legal right to hear the charges against them, or to plead innocent in an open court, otherwise known as the right of habeas corpus. The LA Times article states:
In a 2-1 decision, the judges said the Constitution did not extend the right of habeas corpus to noncitizens held outside the sovereign territory of this country. "Cuba — not the United States — has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay," Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote.Hmm. Have to get the tri-corder out for this one and scan for possible life forms. Do the judges mean to imply Fidel Castro can hear their cases? Cool! That'll be fun!!
Practically, the hundreds of inmates still held at Gitmo, most of whom (by the military's own admission) are probably innocent, can continue to age like fine cellared wines. Next stop, the Supreme Court, when they get around to ruling. In related news, a federal judge ruled US citizen and enemy combatant Jose Padilla is competent to be tried, for what it's still less than clear, despite a slew of mental health professionals who say he's lost his mind after years of solitary confinement in a Naval brig. Honestly, I don't know if Padilla was a bad guy or not. But I do know rulings like these will be routinely used against honest, law-abiding US citizens in the future. Must think of flowers, pretty flowers, and butterflies.
("Papillon" is French for butterfly. While writing this I had an idea for a movie, a loose remake of Papillon, in which a couple of inmates escape from Gitmo like Henri Charriere and Louis Degas did from prison on Devil's Island in South America.)